Pregnancy after cancer

Specialists often recommend that cancer survivors wait for a period of time before attempting to get pregnant. The reasons for this have to do with the effects that chemotherapy and radiation may have had on eggs or sperm, with the rate of recurrence for that particular type of cancer, and the fact that treating cancer during pregnancy can be very complicated.

There are many ways in which cancer treatment may have affected the reproductive organs. Chemotherapy may have an effect on the heart muscle, making it weaker, which complicates pregnancy and delivery. Radiation may affect the blood supply to the uterus (womb), increasing the chance of miscarriage, premature birth, low weight at birth, and other problems. Surgery to the cervix might make pregnancy more difficult and raise the risk of miscarriage. Some cancer treatments may cause infertility. For that reason, it is important to consult with a gynecologist to find ways of preserving fertility before treatment begins. (ASCO) Preserving fertility will involve collecting eggs from women and sperm from men, freezing them and storing them until the time for a pregnancy arrives.

In Canada, you can also contact Fertile Future, which works to ensure that every young Canadian diagnosed with cancer has the opportunity and means to have a child.